Guest Writer – Rhonda Underhill; Tips for Disabled Veterans Running for Office

 

Today’s guest article is provided by Rhonda Underhill. Rhonda is a health care advocate for senior citizens and Veterans.

 

After a health crisis involving her husband Pete, Rhonda and Pete dedicated themselves to healthy living through diet, exercise and awareness. Rhonda created http://www.getwellderly.com/ a website dedicated to the health and well being of seniors.

 

Rhonda’s latest article is dedicated to the disabled Veterans in our community who may be interested in running for office.

 

 

Tips for Disabled Veterans Running for Office

 

One in four people in the United States has some form of disability, but this segment of the population is severely underrepresented in our political landscape. If you are a veteran with a disability you may be motivated to make a change. Running for office gives you the chance to work toward improved rights for less-able citizens.

 

The first step in a successful campaign is to identify the changes you want to make and the policies you want to stand for. Then you will need a top-notch team to help you create a campaign strategy, engage supporters, persuade voters, and find the volunteers that will help you fundraise and work toward your election.

 

Joe Campolo, Jr., has allowed us the use of his website to provide some tips to help you prepare for your campaign.

 

 

Educate yourself

 

If you think you can do better than the elected officials but are unsure how to start, there are many boot camps, webinars, and courses designed to help you. For disabled candidates, the National Council of Independent Living has a wealth of material specifically designed to help you have a presence and effect a change.

 

 

Fine-tune that elevator pitch

 

 Simplified Campaign, says that you should be able to answer the question “Why do you want to run for office?” in three to five sentences. Your response is your elevator pitch and it should be short and to the point. To create the ideal elevator pitch:

 

  • Start by describing yourself and give a short synopsis of your background.

  • Highlight your experience and what you want to change.

  • State the office you are running for.

  • Explain one way you want to serve the voter – this is the sentence where you focus on why you want to run for office.

  • Leave the conversation open.

 

 

Get a killer team in place

 

Behind every successful person is a dedicated team. So before you start your campaign, make sure you have the right people behind you. The two most important jobs in the campaign other than the candidate are the campaign manager and the fundraising director.

 

As a candidate, you should be out there fundraising, speaking at events, and getting in front of your constituents. Your campaign manager facilitates your day-to-day tasks, and the treasurer keeps an eye on the money. Every cent is counted in federal campaigns, so you need someone that is experienced in this field and can account for every penny.

 

If you have the funds, then you may choose to enlist a large staff. These could include a media director, social media strategist, email expert, volunteer coordinator, political director, and the occasional services of an election lawyer.

 

If you are adding a large number of people to your payroll, you need to ensure that you have adequate accounting systems in place. You may use a payroll calculator as well. Implementing the right payroll system, one that allows you to track time, projects, and much more, will make your life easier.

 

 

Enlist volunteers

 

Bringing in volunteers is a critical factor in a successful run for office. The more volunteers you have, the more working hours your team puts in, which is vital when it comes to knocking on doors and enlisting supporters. When you have enough people working on your campaign, it becomes a movement, a juggernaut that will drive you toward success.

 

 

Networking

 

The power of networking cannot be understated. To get yourself known and your ideas talked about, try sitting in on council meetings, attending functions, and contacting past candidates. You could also find a mentor who will be able to introduce you to useful allies.

 

 

Social media

 

It may be tempting to ignore social media, but in today’s world, there is no better way of spreading your message. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to share your activities with current and potential supporters and engage with your audience.

 

 

Have a plan B

 

Running for office and not getting elected can obviously lead to a swirl of emotions, and this makes sense and is normal. Anticipate this when you throw your hat in the ring, and have a backup plan. For example, if you don’t have the necessary experience, and your goal is to affect change in the criminal justice system, consider returning to school for a master’s in CJ. An advanced degree can prepare you with the necessary leadership skills to fully embed yourself in the criminal justice system, which can pay off down the road in your next campaign.

 

Veterans with disabilities struggle to find a voice in U.S. politics. If you want to stand up for your civil rights and make changes, running for office is an excellent place to start.

 

 

Please share this article with any you feel may benefit from it, in it’s entirety citing Joe and his guest author as the creator. All rights reserved © Joe Campolo Jr

About the Author

Joe Campolo Jr.

Joe Campolo, Jr. is an award winning author, poet and public speaker. A Vietnam War Veteran, Joe writes and speaks about the war, and is a Veteran's advocate. Some of Joe's stories are gripping, some humorous. Joe also writes about other experiences, many of which are also humorous. Joe enjoys fishing, traveling, writing and spending time with his family. Joe loves to hear from his readers, please send him a note on this page or the contact page! (and order one of Joe's popular books from the link on his author page)

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